Amazon Parrot house will be opened in the next year at the Parrot ZOO Bosovice

January 11th, 2015 | by LubosTomiska
Amazon Parrot house will be opened in the next year at the Parrot ZOO Bosovice
ZOOs and birdparks
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It has been already three years when the  Parrot ZOO Bosovice was opened in the Czech Republic. It grew up on the base of private birdfarm ARA which specialized in artificial rearing of parrots. Nowadays, they try to focus on rare species and to complete collections of individual genera. In a short time this Parrot ZOO has collected the same number of parrot species as up to now leading the ZOO Prague. And that’s just the start because as the director of Parrot ZOO Bošovice Hana Škrháková says only one quarter of plans is done now.

What was the breeding season in this year?

I would say regular. In some years it was better. Climate is a big problem for nesting parrots. It’s been already for the umpteenth time when the winter was mild and birds can’t recognize the difference between seasons consequently. This disturbs their biorhytm. So they nest lately and do only one clutch or none which was the case of some Amazon parrot species. However, the breeding season for our pair of Blue and Gold Macaws (Ara ararauna) was extraordinary. The pair had four youngers in two clutches. Yellow-crested Cockatoos were successful too so it wasn’t so bad season, eventuelly.

The mild winter let your ZOO open in the winter, is that right?

We opened the Parrot ZOO in August 2011 so this season was the third finished since March to October. It has never happened that we couldn’t open on the 1st of March because of the winter. Parrots tolerate the weather well. In spring, autumn and winter months they can hide in heated inner parts of the facility. When sunny weather occurs and it’s at least plus 5-6°C we let the windows open so they can be outside just for a while all the year long. Only if frost is deep and permanent we keep birds closed. Hoever, in here such conditions are reached only within one or two weeks during the whole winter. As for visitors, parrots get used to their presence and breed without any problems. We haven’t had to close access to some parts of our facility because breeding pairs would be ever disturbed.

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(c) Jan Potucek

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Which new parrot species were added to your collection in this year?

This year we bought Blue-crowned Conures (Aratinga acuticaudata acuticaudata), Yellow-collared Macaw (Primolius auricollis) and Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao). So we extend our macaw and conure collection. At this moment we have 7 conure species and 6 of them are breeding. In macaws we want to have 2 pairs of every species. For now there are 2 pairs of Scarlet Macaws, 2 pairs of Red-fronted Macaws (Ara rubrogenys), 3 pairs Blue and Gold Macaws and the same at Green-winged Macaws (Ara chloroptera) and Blue-winged Macaws (Primolius maracana).

Did you import your Scarlet Macaws from Loro Parque?

Yes, we brough them from LP as well as Blue-crowned Conures and Yellow-collared Macaws. We are still deciding if we will buy some extra pairs of Red-fronted Macaws.

From LP again?

Probably so.

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(c) Jan Potucek

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Have you already dealed with complications related to acclimatization of birds which come from LP? There is still diferent climate on Canary Islands.

Some of the birds were imported in spring, other in autumn or even in December. We always put them to the heated facility where temperature doesn’t fall bellow 23-25°C. During the week we reduce the temperature gradually and we haven’t faced any troubles ever. When the outside temperature reaches 20°C then we also let imported parrots go to outside flights. Our aviaries are built on the leeward side and there are partitions one meter wide between them. This makes our birds absolutely protected against the wind.

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As for getting new birds, do you cooperate with other ZOOs?

We have some offsprings from the ZOO Brno, ZOO Jihlava and ZOO Prague. We also sell our birds to other ZOOs but most of them we keep at home. Another source are private breeders from the Czech Republic but Germany or Austria as well. Unfortunatelly, in our country we sometimes face poor quality of offered individuals. That’s why we rather get parrots from imports. Price can be higher but we always prefer paying more for better quality. Up to now we got only positive experience with this way.

Do you participate on any european or worldwide conservation projects?

Not yet. We have Yellow-billed Amazon Parrot (Amazona collaria) from ZOO Prague where a conservation project exists but they are 2 males. So we will see if there is chance to set up a pair. In our collection there are spare Red-spectacled Amazon Parrot (Amazona pretrei) which are necessary to pair with other sex, too.

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Blue-fronted Amazon (Amazona aestiva). (c) Jan Potucek

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In the past you were mostly specialized in macaws species. Which way do you want to follow now? You extend the collection of conures and amazon parrot species.

I wouldn’t say we were strictly specialized in macaws in the past. That time we mostly handfeeded species wanted on the market from little conures to big macaws. Nowadays artificial breeding is much reduced in our facility and we prefer the natural way. So our priorities have shifted a lot by the time. Our aim is to create complete collections of individual genera like mentioned amazon parrot species, conures or macaws.

Do you cooperate with other specialists in breeding of certain species? Like Zdeněk Vandělík who has large collection of conures or Jan Nedělník, the breeder of amazon parrot species.

We actually don’t much care about the name of the breeder but rather about quality of birds. We had some wrong experience with buying older birds. Now only young individuals are acquired. Our favourite procedure is to buy whole nest from two breeders and then let the parrot choose their partners spontanously. I know that many breeders look for older birds for low price but we rather pay something extra to get parrots in top quality. What is more, since the bird is young you have it under the control, you feed it by your food, you have it in certain condition and breeding of such pairs is always easier. In the Parrot ZOO Bosovice seed mixtures from Versele Laga are prefered . Maybe it’s more expensive but it satisfies our expectation.

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When you mention the food. Are pellets a part of the diet as well?

Some breeders refuse feeding with pellers. In my opinion, parrots should be fed at least by 1 quarter of pellets, fruits and vegetables. We give soaked or sprouted seeds, high quality egg food, we boil pasta and rice. Rizzoto is cooked as well and sometimes even the meat is addded together with pellets. According to our experience it’s important that the mixture is colorful, parrots really love that. There are 3 bowls in every aviary, the first for water, the second for mixture and the third just for pellets. In Aratinga species it often happens that they eat firstly only one color of pellets. The rest is eaten after that. All collors should have the same composition so it’s clear proof that the appearance of food is important. The third bowl with pellets is just for case that parrots will get hungry but we give just about 5 bits for a pair so they don’t get fat. We feed between 8 AM and 10 AM. Total amount of food is measured so the next day their all bowls are empty. Obesity can be an obstacle for successful breeding very often, especially in amazon parrot species.

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(c) Jan Potucek

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When the idea about transfering your private breeding station to the public Parrot ZOO came up?

In the past, as already mentioned we have focused mostly on handfeeding of parrots. A few years ago, many breeders start doing the same. They saw good business in this activity because we were successful and quite popular. Our customers had complete services. All youngers were tested for PBFD and other disease and that wasn’t common at that time. The competition was too strong so that was the impuls for us to think up something new. The idea was to specialize in certain group of parrots. We wanted to build an over-standard facility which will be accessible to public.

I guess it wasn’t easy to become a public Parrot ZOO…

We had to ask for a licence necessary for running the zoo, of course. So all documents were put together, we applied and then had to wait for two more years. The procedure has been quite complicated, authorities have visited and controled our facility many times but finally in 2010 we got that permission. Every two years, inspection comes but they seem to be satisfied every time. We really appreciate that it works. I know many cases when proceeding with licence didn’t go well. Hopefully we will keep our standard which was set in the long term.

What about the attendance?

It grows up. Visitors like coming back not every one or two year but even three times per a year. There is a guest book and many of them always write that they can’t wait to come back. It’s so pleasing for us. But on the other hand, it’s also some kind of obligation. Every season we have to buy at least 2-3 new parrot species or build something new for visitors or kids. The first year there has been absolutely nothing to play for little kids. So we decided to buy two dwarf goats, guinea pigs and rabbits and children just love them. We do excursions for schools as well.

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Do you work as a rescue center for smuggled parrots?

Partly yes. We have a few such birds but not many. We have been asked by czech authorities to become a rescue center but then you need to build qurantine facility. It would have to be isolated from the Parrot ZOO and placed even few kilometres away and it’s complicated. What is more, at this moment we are too busy with our new projects.

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Red-spectacled Amazon (Amazona pretrei) (c) Jan Potucek

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Were you inspired in foreign countries from the idea of specialized parrot ZOO?

We have travelled across whole Europe and saw many ZOOs but the inspiration hasn’t came from there I guess. In our facility is space the most limited condition so our parrot ZOO is specific. We have tried to build high quality facility so birds and comming people feel comfortable.

Do you cooperate with any european birdparks or ZOOs?

Not yet.

How many persons does your parrot ZOO employ?

I feed personally most of birds in the ZOO. We have few people to ensure technical services and our shop. We also employ one temporary worker to clean aviaries.

You have mentioned space limitation in your ZOO. Is there any chance to extend your facility?

Whole building site has about one hectare. At this moment only the first part is open which represents a quarter of whole ZOO. Within the year we prepare opening of a new bird house. The second half will be given over to australian and african parrots. Today’s pavilion will be later only for southamerican species except of the amazon parrot species.

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Green-winged Macaw (Ara chloropterus) (c) Jan Potucek

Do you have already any idea about species diversity in that australian and african houses?

We will see. As for australian species we often get questions about budgies so we will try to get the wild individuals. It can be a good example for education of children.

What about cockatoos, specifically black ones? You already have some white species, right?

It’s an attractive issue for us, of course. Nowadays, we have Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Yellow-crested cockatoos and Umbrella Cockatoos. However, these species require special design of aviaries which we can’t offer now. That’s why we start building of new solitare aviaries on a slope. Then it’s possible to buy more species including possible black ones.

Do you already have any african species?

There are African Greys (Psittacus erithacus), Senegal Parrots (Poicephalus senegalus) and Meyer’s Parrot (Poicephalus meyeri).

You have mentioned that the number of ZOO visitors is growing. Do you have any idea how many people visit your ZOO annually?

We opened in August 2011. So the first season lasts just three or three and half months. Without any publicity and the advertisement we had 2500 visitors. That was quite surprising. In 2012 the number grew on 8000 and the year after on 12500. Up to October in this year 15 000 visitors came to visit our parrot ZOO. As I said, the attendance is growing fast.

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